A ‘stay active’ campaign to raise awareness among people with a range of long term health conditions, that regular physical activity can help decrease the likelihood of contracting coronavirus, as well as benefitting both the mind and body, has launched this week.

Many of us have found ourselves spending increased amounts of time at home and sitting down more than usual since the coronavirus pandemic started. Lockdown has made it hard for people to be as active as normal, and it’s even harder for people who don’t usually do a lot of physical exercise due to existing health conditions.

Protecting residents’ physical and mental health is one of Cambridgeshire County Council’s  and Peterborough City Council’s highest priorities since the outbreak of COVID-19.

Stay Active is reaching out to support people living with health conditions, to keep them safe and well, and encourage them to be active during this time by finding out what works for them. The campaign ties in with We Are Undefeatable – the movement developed by 15 leading health and social care charities, supported by Public Health England.

The dedicated web page has links and advice to inspire people to take steps to begin moving more - to maintain their physical activity or find new opportunities to keep moving whilst in and around the house - with tailored local support and advice.

Taking part in any form of physical activity can help to cope with having to stay at home more. Regular physical activity can help to reduce high blood pressure, manage weight and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and various cancers – all conditions that can increase susceptibility to COVID-19.

It is also good for our mental health. Regular physical activity reduces the risk of depression, cognitive decline and helps to lift our overall feelings. Being active also helps to give your days a routine and can be a way to stay in contact with family and friends.

Councillor Peter Hudson, Chairman of the Health Committee at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “It's really important to keep active while spending more time at home due to the coronavirus lockdown. Whether you’re in your older years or managing a health condition, being active is all about finding what works for you, particularly when the way you feel can change from day to day. Visit bewellcambridgeshire.co.uk/stayactive for local advice and tips”.

Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald, Deputy Leader of Peterborough City Council and Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Health and Public Health said: “Whether you’re just deciding to start being active or want to try something new, there are some really useful tools and online support available out there. Explore some of the ways you can build movement into your day while genuinely enjoying what you’re doing. Visit healthypeterborough.org.uk/stayactive for some local advice and tips”. As we navigate the changes to our daily routines due to the pandemic situation, it’s more important than ever to focus on the things that we can do to take care of ourselves and our loved ones. There will be ups and downs, of course – and moving more when you can is as important as accepting when you can’t. No matter what level of activity you find you can manage, it is still very much worth celebrating.

Find out more about getting or staying active during COVID-19 on the council’s webpages: www.bewellcambridgeshire.co.uk/stayactive or www.healthypeterborough.org.uk/stayactive.